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Orange is the New Black Season 5 Review

Season 5 of Orange is the New Black (OITNB) is the best one yet. Episode one picks up right where season 4 ended where the riot has just begun and Daya is holding the gun up to CO Humphrey’s head. The rest of the season takes place over a couple of days as the riot plays out.

Typically when a show has a large ensemble it makes it hard to keep up but all of the characters are so well developed it’s not a problem. Normally the prison is separated by race and everyone mostly stays within their group, but the riot changed that dynamic. The main theme of this season that all of the women needed to come together in order to get their demands met. It makes for some really touching moments that are heartbreaking, beautiful and often times a little funny.

The writers do an excellent job of balancing the humor and the drama throughout this season. In the previous seasons it felt like they were trying to just be one or the other but they finally found their rhythm. The funniest scenes where of Red and Blanca after they took those “vitamins.” They were an unlikely duo that was fun to watch so hopefully there will be more of them in the future.

Even though the season was the best so far it wasn’t without its faults.  The biggest issue probably being the relationship between Pennsatucky and Doughnuts. It doesn’t matter that she might have some twisted feelings for him; he still raped her. All of their scenes together were uncomfortable to watch and based on how things ended with them it looks like there will unfortunately be more in the future. Hopefully the writers will nip that in the bud quickly because it’s highly unlikely any of their viewers are rooting for that couple.

The two meth head girls, Taylor and Rice, are also very frustrating characters. It seems like the writers are intentionally making them unlikeable, which is fine, but it would be nice to have a whole lot less of them. They weren’t part of that aforementioned comedic relief; they’re just quite annoying most of the time. The Nazi skinheads were more likeable than them, and coming from a Jewish person that’s saying a lot. Although, it should be noted that the writers took a lot of time to make the Nazis redeemable.

There were some flashbacks that could have been taken out as well. There was a lot about Red right before she came to America that didn’t seem necessary. Those scenes were actually kind of boring and if someone skipped that they wouldn’t be missing out on anything. It was sort of interesting to get a little glimpse into the backstory of Ferguson since she had a much larger role this season, but it could have been taken out and it wouldn’t have made a difference. The only flashbacks that were any good were the ones of Piper and Chapman when they were together and Daya her mom. They were actually relevant to what was happening in the present so it added more to the story.

Overall, it was a great season that deserves a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s terrible that we have to wait an entire year for another season, especially after that finale. Again it ended on an intense moment that will have you yanking your hair and biting your fingernails or whatever it is you do when you get nervous. Season 6 could end up being even better or it’s going to be disastrous; it’s hard to tell with how certain things ended. I will chose to be optimistic and keep my hopes as well as my expectations high.

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